Ingar Krauss: “This Is Not a Fashion Photograph”

April 20—June 22, 2024
Jaeger Art

Ingar Krauss (b. 1965 in East Berlin) began photographing his immediate surroundings, the city of Berlin, with its countless voids and derelict buildings, in the early 1990s, a period of great transition in the German capital. A few years later, the self-taught photographer, delving further and more intimately into the theme of change, turned his camera on his daughter and her friends, photographing them in Berlin and in the countryside near the German-Polish border, where he and his family own an old farmhouse. Taken mostly inside this farmhouse and on its grounds against trees and fields, aged and worn walls, and patterned sheets, Krauss’ striking, often ethereal black and white images not only capture these children as they moved from childhood into adolescence, but also something particular about each of them. Revealing their sense of playfulness, shyness, boldness, sadness and, at times, utter awareness, these early portraits demonstrate his ability to see—one might even argue to recognize—something in those around him, something that frequently goes unnoticed by others, and set the stage for him to explore and to photograph other subjects.

Krauss would go on to photograph migrant workers, juveniles in detention centers, men living in solitude, and everyday people who caught his attention on the streets. He would also continue to photograph children and adolescents, only now in other parts of the world. In almost all these photographs, masterfully printed by the photographer and in some cases treated with oils afterwards, his subjects are seen posing against nondescript backgrounds, looking either confidently toward the camera or beyond the photographic frame. While their surroundings may not always be memorable, their appearance, particularly their clothing, which ranges from prison and school uniforms to workwear and outdated suits, often stands out and communicates something about their personal style as well as their occupations and life circumstances. Like their gestures and the props that are sometimes pictured alongside the children he photographs, their clothing lends itself, however, to a narrative that is secondary to Krauss’ insightful way of seeing and photographing people, always capturing something very telling about his subjects.

Krauss’ photographic practice has undoubtedly been influenced by his life experiences. Krauss worked as a stage technician at the Volksbühne and as a caregiver for those suffering with mental illnesses in Berlin both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. During this seminal period, one defined by significant economic, cultural, and political shifts in Germany, the photographer trained his eye to see the subtle nuances of human emotions and developed an ability to perceive and capture what lies beneath the surface of things.

"This Is Not a Fashion Photograph" presents a carefully curated selection of Krauss's portraits, many of which have never been exhibited before in Germany. Ingar Krauss will be present at the opening and during Gallery Weekend, offering visitors insight into his artistic work.

Jaeger Art
Brunnenstraße 161, Berlin, Germany

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